Course Offerings | Dramatic Arts

Division of Humanities

Anthony R.Haigh (chair), Mark de Araujo, Matthew Hallock, Patrick Kagan-Moore; student: Allison Furlong



The Dramatic Arts Program seeks to provide a balanced and comprehensive theatre experience for all students. We offer classes for both majors and non-majors that provide a thorough foundation in theatrical history, theory, and literature as well as training in acting, directing, design, and technical theatre. Thus, students are prepared for graduate education and for employment in any field that values high level communication skills as well as for careers in theatre as teacher, artist, technician or manager.

In preparation for their graduate school and/or a professional career, majors are required, as part of their senior seminar experience, to reflect upon their time in the drama program at Centre College. This reflection process involves a public "exhibition" of their four years of work within the program. Student are therefore encouraged to save the physical evidence of work (programs, photographs, models, masks, drawings, designs etc.) for this display.

For the student body at large, the program affords the opportunity to experience, as audience or participants, a wide range of dramatic forms selected both to educate and to entertain.


Requirements for the Major

DRA Practicum (3 credits), 117, 133, 134, 150, 500;
Five classes from the following, at least one from each area:
Area A: Performance: DRA 310, 315, 317, 318, 320-329;
Area B: Technology and Design: DRA 250, 350, 351, 355, 356, 360-369;
Area C: Dramatic History & Literature: DRA 330, 331, 332, 337, 338, 340-49;


Requirements for the Minor

DRA Practicum (3 credits);
Two of DRA 117, 150, 338;
DRA 133 and 134;
Two additional DRA courses numbered 300 or higher.


Dramatic Arts Courses

DRA 111 Practicum (one credit hour)
This course requires the practical involvement of the student in a faculty-directed or supervised production. This production must be a part of the regular season of the Dramatic Arts Program. Notes: Admission by audition and appointment only; graded on a Pass/Unsatisfactory basis; only six hours of practicum credit may be applied toward graduation.

DRA 112 Practicum
(two credit hours)
This course requires the practical involvement of the student in a faculty-directed production either in a lead acting role or as a crew head. This production must be a part of the regular season of the Dramatic Arts Program. Notes: Admission by audition and appointment only; graded on a Pass/Unsatisfactory basis; only six hours of practicum credit may be applied toward graduation.

DRA 113 Practicum
(three credit hours)
This course requires the practical involvement of the student either in directing a major production or as a lead designer on a faculty-directed production. This production must be a part of the regular season of the Dramatic Arts Program. Notes: Admission by appointment only; graded on a Pass/Unsatisfactory basis; only six hours of practicum credit may be applied toward graduation.

DRA 115 Modern Dance Technique
(one credit hour)
An introduction to the study of modern dance. Classes include basic dance warm-up exercises designed to stretch and strengthen various muscles throughout the body, and simple movement combinations designed to improve balance, coordination, flexibility, and rhythm. The class is supplemented by the viewing and discussion of videotapes of works by modern dance choreographers.

DRA 116 Modern Dance Performance
(one credit hour)
Preparation of a dance performance. By learning, rehearsing, and performing pieces choreographed by the instructor, students gain an understanding of the choreographic process. The course culminates in a public performance.

DRA 117 Acting-I
An introduction to the basic theory, techniques, and history of European and American ensemble training for the actor, from the work of Constantin Stanislavski to the present. The course begins with exercises designed to improve performance technique, progresses to character analysis and development, and finally focuses upon scene rehearsal and performance. Students read and analyze texts, learning to evaluate them as compositions for performance.

DRA 133 Foundations of Western Theatre-I
A survey of Western dramatic literature and theatre history from the ancient Greeks to the eighteenth century.

DRA 134 Foundations of Western Theatre-II
A survey of Western dramatic literature and theatre history from the eighteenth century to modern times.

DRA 150 Technical Theater
(four credit hours)
An introduction to the foundation concepts of theatrical production. Topics covered include theatrical architecture, scenic production, lighting production, and theatrical organizational structures.

DRA 250 Stage Make-up
Drawing upon design theory, drawing theory, and anatomical identification as well as literary analysis and historical research, the course focuses on basic techniques of stage make-up, including character make-up, aging, wigs and beards, and designing make-up for non-realistic theatre.

DRA 270 Speech
An introductory course in the study of rhetoric and the principles of public speaking, focussing strongly on the art of using language so as to persuade and influence others. Assignments emphasize the process of organizing material for specific teaching situations and on the development of poise and self-confidence in the individual speaker.

DRA 310 Acting-II: Improvisation
This course focuses upon game structure and problem-solving exercises as the basis for theatrical training. Improvisational skill may be taught through group interactions, narrative storytelling, working with and building masks, and the development of scenes from personal experience and non-theatrical literature. Prerequisite: DRA 117 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 315 The Company
An intensive, Centre term course aimed at producing a piece of theatre. Instructor and students work together on an agreed theatrical outcome and are responsible for all aspects of their own performance.

DRA 317 Cross Cultural Performance
An examination of various theories of performance from Asian, African, European and American cultures. In addition to studying different styles of performance, students research and present a Chautauqua-style performance of a literary or historical figure.

DRA 318 Directing
A study of the role of the director in the theatrical process. Students study and practice rehearsal techniques, blocking, movement, and production methods. They also investigate the process of other directors. Students are expected to mount a short production at the end of the course. Prerequisite: DRA 117 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 320-329 Advanced Topics in Performance
Courses designed to provide students with an opportunity to do advanced research and practical work in a performance area such as acting, vocal techniques, audition techniques and stage combat, etc. Prerequisite: DRA 117.

DRA 330 Playwriting
A study of the creative process of writing a play, emphasizing plot and character development. Secondary emphasis is placed on experimentation with forms of drama and styles of playwriting. Students are required to write a one-act play.

DRA 331 Shakespeare-I
A study of the development of Shakespeare as dramatist, with emphasis on the earlier histories and the romantic comedies. (Also listed as ENG 301).

DRA 332 Shakespeare-II
A study of the mature Shakespeare, the tragedies and romances, with emphasis on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. (Also listed as ENG 302)

DRA 337 Dramaturgy
This course centers upon theatrical production and the role of the dramaturg, an assistant to the director and to the production team. Students of dramaturgy learn to analyze texts and to ask thought-provoking questions; to provide essential research (historical, biographical, critical, visual); and to question basic assumptions about the play and the production process. Prerequisite: DRA 133 & 134 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 338 Introduction to Drama and Theater
A survey of the elements of drama and theater manifested by both text and performance. This course is taught off-campus in London or New York, or another major metropolitan theatre center.

DRA 340-349 Studies in Dramatic History and Literature
Courses in specific national or cultural movements or practitioners in dramatic literature and history from ancient times to the present. Prerequisite: DRA 133 & 134.

DRA 350 Design-I
An analysis of the stage production from the scene designer’s point of view. Emphasis on use of design materials, the ground plan, working drawings, models, the sketch, and the color rendering. Prerequisite: DRA 150 or permission of instructor.

DRA 351 Design-II
A study of the historic, aesthetic, and technical aspects of stage lighting design. Emphasis is placed on the technical as a prerequisite to the aesthetic. Participation in actual performances is an integral part of the course. Prerequisite: DRA 150 or permission of instructor.

DRA 355 Stage Management
An introduction to the basic practices of stage management. Emphasis is on the rehearsal and performance duties of the stage manager through a focus on organizational and management skill training. Prerequisite: DRA 150 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 356 C.A.D.D. for the Stage
An introduction to Computer Aided Drafting and Design. The course builds upon the mechanical drawing component of DRA 150. Further work involves 3-D modeling and creating perspective images of virtual stage setting. Prerequisite: DRA 150 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 360-369 Studies in Design and Technology
Courses designed to provide students with an opportunity to do advanced research and practical work within the technical and design aspects of the production process. Topics may include, but are not limited to, properties design, computer assisted design, studies in costume design and technology, advanced stagecraft or advanced stage lighting. Prerequisite DRA 150 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 500 Senior Seminar
A capstone class for dramatic arts majors that requires students to synthesize their experiences in dramatic theory and literature and in theatre performance and production. Assignments might center upon dramaturgy, dramatic theory and criticism, analysis for acting or directing, or production design. Seminar students prepare a portfolio presentation that summarizes their experience and their current vision of the theatre. The class also includes a component in resume preparation and professional presentation.


Special Topics Offered 1998-2001

DRA 25 Introduction to Scene Painting
An introduction to the techniques, materials, and process of the scenic artist, with the goal of developing the ability to translate the perceived environment into painted images for the stage.

DRA 25, 45A Topics in Acting: Scene Study
This course offers actors the opportunity to concentrate on scene study work. Students keep acting journals and read acting texts. DRA 45A students write an additional paper on acting styles. Prerequisite: DRA 17 is recommended but not required.

DRA 45A Special Topics in Performance: Physical Theatre
A study of physical theatre and movement training for the actor. Basic principles include use and construction of neutral and character masks, training in using masks of the commedia dell’arte, and biomechanical studio exercises. Prerequisite: DRA 17 or permission of the instructor.

DRA 45C American Musical Theatre
A study of the American musical from The Black Crook in 1866 to the current hit Rent, including vaudeville, minstrelsy, burlesque, operetta, revues, the "golden age" of musicals, and the new era of rock. From Kern to Berlin, Gershwin to Porter, Blake to Bernstein, Rodgers and Hammerstein to Lerner and Lowe, parallels are drawn between the development of these musical theatre pioneers and the development of our American identity and their effect on the popular culture of this country.

DRA 45A Contemporary London Theatre
A study of the range of contemporary London theatre, from fringe to the major subsidized repertory companies, through a series of visits to performances and theatre sites and through lectures, readings, and discussion. Emphasis on both the texts and their performances.